Arthurian Legend, Tintagel
The castle ruins we see today are on the site of an ancient fortress, which belonged to a great warrior of the West Country, contributing to the legend of King Arthur and the tales of the great wizard, Merlin. The site has appeared in many TV and film adaptations, and for many who visit, it leaves them with a palpable sense of magic. There is a story of a young widow who placed the ashes of her husband in a particular spot, with an incredible view along the coast and out to sea. Years later she came across a box of photos, taken by her husband, long before they ever met. The very last photo was exactly the same view from Tintagel Castle were his ashes were scattered…
A giant’s downfall, St Agnes
Giant Bolster filled villagers with terror; he even forced his wife to carry boulders, up a hill, in her apron, while he chased after local girls. But this desire was his undoing when he met the beautiful St Agnes. He tried to prove his love for her by filling a hole at Chapel Porth with his blood. Unknowingly to Bolster, the hole was bottomless and before he realised it was too late, he bled out. As a sign of this lovelorn tale, a hint of red lingers on the cliffs in Chapel Porth and to celebrate Bolster’s defeat the St Agnes Bolster Festival takes place every April/May. See our What’s on guide for details.
St Michael’s Mount, Mount’s Bay
Myths and legends pulse through the bedrock of St Michael’s Mount. Tales of seafarers lured by mermaids, apparitions of St Michael, and even the existence of powerful energetic ‘ley lines’ that course under the sea, and cross at the heart of the Mount have drawn on the beliefs and curious nature of people and pilgrims for thousands of years. The Cornish legend of Jack the Giant Killer tells of gruesome beast that terrorised the land, Cormoran the giant made the Mount his home, stealing cattle when hungry. Jack, a young lad from Marazion, was said to have made his way across one moonlit night, to lay a trap… Venture up the Mount today and the beast’s stone heart can be found.
Mermaid Magic, Zennor
Cornwall’s connection to the sea is captured in this most romantic of myths. A local chorister was captivated by the sheer beauty of a young mermaid just off the coast. His heart, melting every time he heard her haunting song, left him no choice but to join her for a life beneath the ocean waves, leaving the villagers of Zennor in mourning. Their tribute to him can be seen in Senara’s Church today in the form of a wooden Mermaid Chair, thought to be more than 600 years old. Listen closely, on a summer’s evening, for you may catch the haunting tune that is now sung by the chorister too.